Gender diversity is critical—not to even the score, hit quotas, or create balance for balance’s sake. Gender diversity is critical because it makes business sense. Gender diversity benefits the bottom line.
Current research shows that gender-diverse teams are more productive and generate higher profits than homogenous teams. McKinsey finds that the most gender diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform others in their industry. Amsterdam College of Applied Sciences concludes that teams with an equal mix of men and women outperform male-dominated teams when it comes to profitability. And studies by Columbia Business School and the University of Maryland conclude that a higher proportion of women in senior management correlate with better company performance.
But three major obstacles get in the way:
First, companies around the globe are a long way from gender parity. At the rate we’re going, it will take more than a century to achieve it in the C-suite. Women hold fewer than 15 percent of top leadership positions in companies globally. Equal numbers of women and men say they want to be promoted, yet for every 10 women promoted from entry-level worker to front-line manager, there are 13 men.
Second, most work cultures aren’t inclusive. Organizations have great intentions and some even hire a diverse mix, but they lose out because significant numbers of their people feel forced to operate outside their natural strengths.
Third, people are generally oblivious to the hidden rules of the other gender culture. Men and women often don’t work well together because what seems natural to one is baffling to the other. Women see men as insensitive while men see women as over-emotional. What they don’t understand is that both men and women are doing what works in their own culture.
If you don’t have a balanced mix at all levels… if you don’t have a culture that encourages people to operate from their strengths…if you don’t have organizational awareness about the two gender cultures, you are missing out.
We are poised to help.